Disclaimer: The information below is intended as general information and is not to be accepted, relied upon, or construed as competent legal advice. Prior to rendering effective legal advice, an attorney must conduct appropriate research, consult with a prospective client, and analyze a potential client’s legal issue while taking into consideration all relevant factors. Please contact G & B Attorneys at your very earliest convenience to discuss your legal matter fully and completely.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a lawsuit?
A lawsuit is formal court proceeding initiated to bring a claim or dispute before a court for adjudication.
What are typical court costs?
Court costs are very different than an attorney’s fee. An attorney’s fee is the amount of money a client pays his or her attorney for representation. Court costs, however, are hard costs set by a third party (e.g., clerk of court) that are necessary for your case. When a lawsuit is filed on your behalf, a filing fee to initiate a suit is required to be paid to the applicable clerk of court. The filing fee is determined by the type of suit that is filed. Filing fees typically range from $200-$400. The party you are suing needs to be served with the court paperwork, which typically costs around $30 per person to effectuate service. Part of the court paperwork initially served on your opponent includes a summons which directs your opponent to respond to the complaint you filed. A summons typically costs approximately $10 per summons. Court Reporter costs are also very common. Court Reporters are necessary to preserve a complete record of oral arguments advanced by any party at all hearings and to preserve testimony at oral depositions. Court Reporters typically require an appearance fee of between $85-$100. Then, a Court Reporter will bill for additional time (i.e., excess of 1 hour). Next, if you ultimately need to order a transcript, the Court Reporter bills between $5-$7 per page for production. In the filing of a bankruptcy petition it is necessary to run a credit report to ensure that all creditors are included in the petition. A credit report costs approximately $30-$40 per person. The last most frequent court cost is mediation. Mediation is a process wherein the parties to a lawsuit have an opportunity to discuss their dispute and potential settlement options confidentially before an impartial mediator. Mediation usually costs between $150-$300 per hour.
What is a foreclosure lawsuit?
A Foreclosure lawsuit or action is the formal judicial process of taking possession of a mortgaged property after a default has occurred. In Florida, an entity seeking to take possession of a mortgaged property via foreclosure action must institute a foreclosure lawsuit against a borrower in the county where the mortgage property is located. Foreclosure actions can be instituted against a borrower for many reasons but the most common is a borrower’s inability to make his monthly mortgage payments. At the beginning of a foreclosure action, a mortgagor (borrower/homeowner) is served a foreclosure summons and complaint. At this point, a person in foreclosure should contact a competent foreclosure defense attorney to discuss legal strategies, alternatives to foreclosure like loan modification or short sale, potential defenses, and all other scenarios.
What is a deficiency judgment?
When a mortgagee (lender/bank/servicer) obtains a final foreclosure judgment, included within the final judgment, is a precise amount of money fixed by the Court that the Court deems due and owing to the mortgagee. In order to satisfy this amount due and owing, the Court orders the property that is the subject of a foreclosure action to be sold and the proceeds of the sale are applied to the outstanding balance. If the balance is paid in full, there can be no deficiency. This is most commonly seen in instances where the market value of the property exceeds the debt owed. If, however, the current market value of the property on the date of the foreclosure sale is less than the amount fixed in the final judgment of foreclosure and the sale garners insufficient proceeds to satisfy the judgment, the mortgagee may be entitled to pursue the difference. This difference is considered the “deficiency” amount. A mortgagee has the option of pursuing a deficiency judgment in an existing foreclosure action or in a new action. It is best to deal with potential deficiency judgment issues before a foreclosure judgment is entered. A competent foreclosure defense attorney should be consulted with prior to a foreclosure judgment being entered against you to discuss options to avoid or minimize financial exposure.
What is a Loan Modification?
A loan modification is a restructured loan that creates new terms for performance and prescribes the rights and obligations of a mortgagee (lender/bank/servicer) and a mortgagor (borrower). In order to obtain a loan modification a borrower usually needs to submit a complete financial package including verified income and a documented hardship. A modification does not always equal a lower monthly mortgage payment. In many instances, however, a typical modification will result in a more affordable monthly payment. This is most commonly accomplished by extending the maturity date or lowering the interest rate. A loan modification is a popular desired objective for many homeowners in foreclosure who wish to save their property. But evaluating whether a modification makes financial sense is a question to be addressed and analyzed by a competent foreclosure defense attorney.
What is a Deed in Lieu?
A deed in lieu (DIL) is the conveyance of an interest in property (typically a deed) from one person or entity to another to satisfy a debt. The parties commonly engaged in such an arrangement are a mortgagee (lender/bank/servicer) and a mortgagor (borrower). A DIL usually requires the borrower to submit a complete financial package, including verified income and a documented hardship. If accepted, a mortgagee accepts a “deed” from a mortgagor as satisfaction of the mortgage. Prior to submitting a financial package for DIL review, typically a mortgagee requires a property to be listed for sale for a period of time. Although a mortgagee may accept a deed in lieu of foreclosure wherein a mortgagor avoids having a foreclosure judgment entered against him or her, a competent foreclosure defense attorney is necessary to aid in the submission process; but more importantly assess the possibility of a potential deficiency judgment and employ methods to avoid same.
What is Reinstatement?
Reinstatement occurs when a borrower/debtor/mortgagor brings his or her loan obligation current and resumes performance under an existing contract. Most commonly, reinstatement of a mortgage occurs when a mortgagor pays all past due amounts owed to a mortgagee including all past due fees, charges, costs, and interest in one lump sum; and after paying all arrears resumes making his or her normal monthly mortgage payment as though no payments were ever missed.
What is a Short Sale
A short sale is a sale of property in which the proceeds generated from the sale are insufficient to satisfy the outstanding debt due and owing to a mortgagee (lender/bank/servicer), which has a secured lien or liens on the property. Example, your mortgage company lets your sell your home that is worth $50,000 to a buyer for $50,000 even though you owe your mortgage company $100,000. Even though a short sale occurs between a homeowner and a buyer, consent from the mortgagee is required prior to completing a short sale since it is the mortgagee that is accepting less than what it is owed. In order to submit a short sale offer to a mortgagee for review, a borrower is usually required to submit a good faith offer along with a complete financial package including verified income and a documented hardship. If accepted, mortgagee agrees to release its lien, and permits the sale to be completed. Upon completion of a short sale, any pending foreclosure action against a homeowner is dismissed. Like a DIL, although a mortgagee may accept less sale proceeds than its owed and a mortgagor avoids having a foreclosure judgment entered against him or her a result, a competent foreclosure defense attorney is necessary to aid in the submission process but more importantly assess the possibility of a potential deficiency judgment and employ methods to avoid same.
What is a short payoff (discounted payoff)?
A short payoff is when a mortgagee (bank/lender/servicer) accepts less than the full balance owed for full satisfaction of a mortgage. A short payoff requires a lump sum payment. The short payoff amount typically mirrors current market value of a given property or slightly less. For example, if your property is worth $50,000 and you owe your mortgagee $100,000, but your mortgagee agrees to accept $50,000 for full satisfaction of your $100,000 mortgage obligation, this would be a short payoff. This is a very rare settlement option, but all settlement options can be fully discussed with a competent foreclosure defense attorney.
What is a repayment plan?
A repayment plan is a plan wherein the mortgagor (homeowner/borrower) agrees to repay the arrears owed to his or her mortgagee (bank/lender/servicer) over a specified period of time in addition to the mortgagor’s current monthly mortgage obligation. For example, if you owe your mortgagee $10,000 for missed mortgage payments, fees, charges, and costs and your normal monthly mortgage payment is $1,000, your mortgagor may permit you to make your $1,000 mortgage payment in addition to an extra $2,500 for a four (4) month period to bring your loan or obligation current. A mortgagee will typically only agree to a repayment plan for a maximum of twelve (12) months and will likely request a full financial package in order to consider a mortgagor for this option. This is a very rare settlement option, but all settlement options can be fully discussed with a competent foreclosure defense attorney.
What does Redemption mean?
In the foreclosure setting, redemption is a statutorily prescribed right of a property title holder to payoff the entire balance owed to another thereby satisfying a final judgment of foreclosure prior to a public sale. This is highly protected property right in Florida.
What does it mean if my property is Underwater?
Underwater means the current market value of a property is less than the outstanding debt owed to a mortgagee including all charges, interest and fees. See example provided in “Short Sale” FAQ
Do I have to move out after I missed my first mortgage payment?
No. A competent foreclosure defense attorney will be able to discuss the complete foreclosure process from the date of your first missed mortgage payment through the appellate process. This includes estimated time frames, potential defenses, possible counter claims, common hearings/court appearances, expected results, and viable settlement options
Do I have to move out after I receive a Notice explaining my mortgage may be or has already been accelerated?
No. Next step, a mortgagee must initiate a foreclosure action against you, serve you with the appropriate court paperwork, obtain a final judgment and sale. Before any of this, you have a chance to fight. A competent foreclosure defense attorney will be able to discuss the complete foreclosure process from the date of your first missed mortgage payment through the appellate process. This includes estimated time frames, potential defenses, possible counter claims, common hearings/court appearances, expected results, and viable settlement options. Always, maintain thorough records of any and all correspondence with your mortgage company.
Do I have to move out after I was served with a foreclosure summons and complaint
No. Next step, a mortgagee must initiate a foreclosure action against you, serve you with the appropriate court paperwork, obtain a final judgment and sale. Before any of this, you have a chance to fight. A competent foreclosure defense attorney will be able to discuss the complete foreclosure process from the date of your first missed mortgage payment through the appellate process. This includes estimated time frames, potential defenses, possible counter claims, common hearings/court appearances, expected results, and viable settlement options. Always, maintain thorough records of any and all correspondence with your mortgage company.
Do I have to move out after I was served with a foreclosure summons and complaint?
No. Next step, a mortgagee must obtain a final foreclosure judgment and sale. Before any of this, you have a chance to fight. A competent foreclosure defense attorney will be able to discuss the complete foreclosure process from the date of your first missed mortgage payment through the appellate process. This includes estimated time frames, potential defenses, possible counter claims, common hearings/court appearances, expected results, and viable settlement options. Always, maintain thorough records of any and all correspondence with your mortgage company.
Do I have to move out after a foreclosure judgment has been entered against me?
No. Next step, a sale of your property must occur. Even then, there is ten (10) day time period that must expire before title transfers to the purchaser. Then, eviction proceedings ensue. A competent foreclosure defense attorney will be able to discuss the complete foreclosure process from the date of your first missed mortgage payment through the appellate process. This includes estimated time frames, potential defenses, possible counter claims, common hearings/court appearances, expected results, and viable settlement options. Always, maintain thorough records of any and all correspondence with your mortgage company & court documents filed by its attorney.
What happens if an entity or individual gets a money judgment against me?
Your assets, including your income, may be at imminent risk. A money judgment can be used to garnish bank accounts, wages, or other forms of money, assets or property to satisfy the outstanding money judgment.
Can I put money down and then have the mortgagee modify my loan?
Typically, no. Except in very rare instances, mortgagees (bank/lender/servicer) do not make special exceptions when engaging in foreclosure alternative analysis. Your viable retention options are loan modification, reinstatement, redemption, and payoff. If, however, your mortgagee is an individual person or low volume mortgagee, the ability to more specifically tailor workout options improves. All settlement options can be fully discussed with a competent foreclosure defense attorney.
Can the HOA/Condo Association foreclose if I am late on assessments but current on my mortgage?
The HOA and Condo Association can initiate a foreclosure action against you and obtain a final judgment. The final judgment will be comprised of your missed assessments, late charges, attorney’s fees, court costs, interest, and other charges. If you are unable to satisfy the final judgment, a public sale/auction will be held to sell/purchase your lien obligation. The successful purchaser takes title to your property and you no longer have an interest in your property regardless of your status with the first mortgagee (bank/lender/servicer). HOAs and Condo Associations are aggressive and will foreclose a homeowner’s interest for any assessments due, no matter how small. If you are falling behind with your HOA and Condo Association assessments, consult a competent HOA and Condo Association defense attorney.
Do I have to move out of my home if the HOA or Condo Association forecloses?
Yes.
What do I do if I am served with an eviction notice?
Contact a Landlord/Tenant law attorney immediately.
Can the amount of child support and/or alimony I am paying be adjusted?
A court has the authority to modify an existing order to change your child support and/or alimony obligation upon showing of a substantial change circumstances. The underlying focus of the Court remains the best interests of the child(ren). Contact a family law attorney to help determine whether a modification of child support or alimony is available to you.
Do I have to serve jail time if I am arrested for a DUI?
This would depend on the circumstances of your arrest. A few factors that are taken into consideration are what county you live in, what county you were arrested in and whether or not this is the first time you are arrested for this charge or a similar charge. Contact a DUI attorney to help determine the best steps to take in your situation.